This was bound to happen eventually. When Facebook launched fan pages, a lot of users jumped at the opportunity to create fan pages for large brands. Whether television shows or clothing brands, it was technically against the terms of service and now users are having their pages taken down and the brands are having the pages transferred to internal accounts. Two people have provided examples of their pages being taken down in the past day and one of those individuals had their account disabled by Facebook.
Sam Huleatt created a page for Ralph Lauren and then received the letter which I’ve included below. Since creating the page Sam obtained 589 new fans but didn’t send out any notification blasts to the user. Facebook was notified and terminated Sam’s account. Ralph Lauren on the other hand played it smart and decided to reward Sam with a $200 gift certificate. This is really smart of Ralph Lauren and something that I suggest other companies mimic. Don’t punish the users, simply contact them and they will most likely be happy to turn over the Facebook Page.
At a recent event in D.C., Andy Carvin of NPR told a similar story in which the people at NPR were trying to figure out how to go about having a Facebook page created by a random user transfered over to people internal to NPR. The result was that Andy simply contacted the user and the person gladly handed it over after people at NPR after failing to receive a response from a separate inquiry by the user on the official NPR website.
Peter Corbett created a page for Under Armour and wrote a post about it on his blog stating,
If youâ€™re a brand manager for any of the above, just drop me a line and Iâ€™ll coordinate with Facebook to hand you over control of the page. This exercise was not built in order to squat on these pages permanently and it would be silly to delete them at the end of this as the fan base would be disbanded by that action doing more harm than good in my opinion.
The end result? Under Amour sent Peter a bag of free Under Armour gear. These are all examples of companies that get it. Unfortunately for Sam, his account has since been terminated. My guess is that Sam’s account will soon be reinstated but the people who are making an effort to set up branded pages for another company are typically fans and not squatters. Reach out to your fans and you will have a fan for life!
Facebook on the other hand may want to reconsider their policy of automatically banning users who created branded pages that are not their own brand. A simple warning would probably be sufficient. While this policy isn’t a best practice for repeat offenders, it definitely makes sense for somebody who only set up a couple of branded pages.
Letter from Ralph Lauren